I've been mulling things over now and again, and thinking about what we want out of our lifestyle. Not the deep and meaningful "what we want out of life" - no, I'm leaving that for another day. I've had time to think about why we live the way we do, and what we want to get from living like this.
I think the girls "get" that we don't spend a lot of money on consumables in order to conserve money for things that matter, that make a difference in the grand scheme of things. If I explain that I need to save for the EFG's travel fund, they understand that that is important. Telling the EFG that she can't download yet another Vampire book for her Kindle is taken stoically when she grasps that they are not at the top of the priority list. The YFG is also on board, easily seeing that she does gymnastics already as well as Guides, and that if she wants to do ballet, she can't continue Guides as well - there is a set amount of money in the Activities budget and it won't stretch to two things. That sort of attitude and understanding is great. I don't want any comments about being mean not letting her do both; it is about education for their future. In the big wide world, young adults don't get a lot of financial information, and we as parents are the first line for them. We need to be strong and not give in to childish demands, and help them understand the ways of the world. Tesco won't let you leave with all your food if you can only pay for half of it, for example.
Children also need to grasp the concept of working in exchange for payment. There are always jobs that the girls can do in exchange for money. They each have a daily job that they are required to do as a contribution to the household, which both are now used to doing although it took some nagging to get them into the routine. But if something is not worth their effort, why should it be worth my effort on their behalf? So if extra pennies are wanted for extras that they desire, I am quite happy to help them to achieve the extra cash, but I don't often just buy whatever it is they want.
This is reflected in our lives - they see us save up for items, they hear us discuss whether the sofas will get replaced this year or next, what might be a higher priority for the household, which car to take on a long journey to get the best miles per pound of fuel, etc. These sorts of discussions are openly held, and the girls participate and add their opinions - they want to take the Skoda to Yorkshire, and it would get the best mpp but we wouldn't get all the luggage in, so we are still talking about that one. And the sofas? No, not on the list this year! Higher priorities are the travel fund and the maintenance on the house....
Thrift in our daily lives is evident. I put on a waterproof jacket this morning and looked it at, muttering to myself about the mud around the hem of it, saying that it was probably still Kindrogan mud. I went on a geography residential field trip to Kindrogan Field Centre (it has changed a bit since I was there - 5 of us slept in an attic bedroom that was nothing like the bedrooms in the tour, and definitely no en-suite!) in Perthshire when I was 17. My mum had to buy me a waterproof kagoule and trousers, and although the trousers have long been passed on, the kagoule top is still in first class condition 22 years later. Similarly I was wearing a jacket the other day that I have had over 15 years, and it washes well, keeps me warm and I find it really comfy for the garden and popping to the village, so why would I pass it on? We don't live terribly disposable lives, and I am doing my best to instill the same values in the girls, although I am fast discovering that the YFG is probably destined to be a model, if the number of times she changes her clothes in a day is anything to go by; that is a work in progress!